Driven by the gritty, soulful vocals of Phil Campbell, the mastery of guitarists Paul Sayer and Luke Potashnick and a powerhouse of a rhythm section delivered by Nick Fyffe on bass and Damon Wilson on drums, The Temperance Movement made quite a splash in the U.S. with their self-titled debut album in 2015.
The release of their highly anticipated follow-up album White Bear this past July has proven to be a raucous rock ‘n roll animal too powerful to ignore.
Now touring the States in support of White Bear, we caught up with guitarist Paul Sayer to talk a little about songwriting and his favorite guitar.
You’ve been on tour in the States for almost exactly a month. How have things been going?
It’s been awesome – we love touring the US – it’s the home of so much of the music that we love.
Some songwriters refuse to listen to other music as they’re writing, some listen to as much music as possible. Where do you fit?
Definitely in the ‘listen to as much as possible’ group. It’s inspiring.
How does the band write material? Is it a group effort or do you write individually?
It changes from song to song, but it normally starts with a guitar riff or chord structure and we go from there. Sometimes it’ll just be me, Matt and Phil in a room, other times it’s the whole band jamming onstage in a venue.
What influenced you to pick up a guitar?
Probably my Dad. He played in bands when I was very young and there were always guitars around the house.
What was your first guitar? Do you still have it?
It’s was my Dad’s Sunburst Telecaster, and not only do I still have it – it’s also still my main guitar!
How do you remember your first time ever performing live?
Yes, it was at school. I was lucky to go to a school which just happened to have a lot of other kids there making music. I played and sang a couple of Free songs, backed by some of the older kids. I don’t remember too much about the actual performance, but I remember the drive home in the car with my Dad and feeling like it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Have you ever had anything embarrassing happen on stage, or maybe a nightmare situation with any gear?
Well you have little hiccups with gear here and there all the time, things break, but it never gets to me too much because it’s just the way it is. If you play 150 shows a year not everything is going to work perfectly all the time. It can actually make a show kind of exciting if you have to get by without a certain piece of equipment or something.
Do you have an emotional attachment to any of your guitars?
My Telecaster, for obvious reasons! It just feels like it was made to fit my hand, or maybe the other way around, seeing as it’s been around a lot longer than I have!
Is there a particular moment on White Bear you’re really proud of?
I love all of it. From a guitar playing point of view, maybe the solo of “Battlelines,” but I also tried to go outside the box a bit on this record as well and there are a few examples of that. Maybe like on “Pleasant Peace” where I think I managed to achieve what I was going for.
Keith Richards once gave you some advice: “Just keep it together.” For only four words, that’s a lot to live up to. What’s the biggest challenge you face in a band today and what keeps you motivated?
Well, as Keith said, the biggest challenge is keeping it all together personally, as a band and with your loved ones back home. Getting onstage and playing music to a room full of people is one of the greatest privileges in the world and I love every minute of it, but it comes with some downsides, like the hours you spend in a van, living 24/7 with six other guys and missing people at home. The trick is to deal with those things in a way that means you and still get out there and play the shows.
Do you have any words of wisdom for new guitar players?
Study the greats and then find your own voice!
Thanks Paul! What would you like to say to wrap things up?
Come and see the band – you won’t regret it!
Catch The Temperance Movement on one of the remaining dates of their U.S. tour:
Fri 10/7 | St. Paul, MN | Turf Club
Sat 10/8 | St. Louis, MO | Fubar
Sun 10/9 | Louisville, KY | Headliners Music Hall
Tue 10/11 | Atlanta, GA | The Masquerade
Wed 10/12 | Charlotte, NC | The Underground
Fri 10/14 | New Orleans, LA | Parish at House of Blues
Sat 10/15 | Dallas, TX | Gas Monkey Bar & Grill
Sun 10/16 | Houston, TX | Bronze Peacock Room at House of Blues
Tue 10/18 | Destin, FL | Club L.A.
* Wed 10/19 | Athens, GA | Georgia Theatre
Thu 10/20 | Nashville, TN | Cannery Ballroom
* Supporting The Revivalists.
Band photo by Steven Sebring